The Root is a new online magazine targeting African Americans, underwritten by The Washington Post. Its editor-in-chief is Henry Louis Gates, Jr. a writer and Harvard professor . The managing editor is Lynette Clemetson and contributing writers will include Malcolm Gladwell and William Julius Wilson. Donald E. Graham, CEO of the Washington Post and son of Katharine Graham, is its CEO and looks to be putting some serious financial support behind it. With Senator Barack Obama running for president, now may be the perfect time for The Root’s launch.
Another interesting fact about the magazine is its focus on genealogy. Building family trees is encouraged as is DNA testing to assist in the tree building. Mr. Gates owns a company www.AfricanDNA.com that will assist in this DNA research as African Americas trace their lineage backward, extending to various regions of Africa. Very cool stuff.
Both of these are powerful, timely ideas, but probably should remain separate business ventures. The mission gets a little blurry when trying to explain how the two things work together, e.g., politcal and cultural news/commentary and genealogy. Were I running the show, I’d keep The Root for the genealogy business and come up with a more today, topical name for the editorial property. And separate them.
That said, good luck to both enterprises.